There's something lovably crass about The Great American Trailer Park Musical that makes it a very wild ride, indeed. As an audience we've grown accustomed to the tell-all, show-all, behavior that's seen on daytime (and some times night time) television, especially if you watch Jerry Springer or others of his ilk. Really, these characters ring true enough that they virtually shine in this arena, if only for the length of this crazy quilt of trailer-hood, that mixes in a liberal dose of modern Americana. Stray Dog Theatre's latest production throws a helluva lot of jokes against the wall, and luckily, most of them stick.
Stark, Florida isn't a place I'd particularly want to visit if it really existed, but it's the setting for this farcical musical that follows the adventures, such as they are, of the people who live in a trailer park in Stark. There are three ever-present sirens (Kim Furlow, Kay Love and Jessica Tilghman)who grace us with their rather unusual Southern hospitality; detailing the sordid affairs of their neighbors, one of whom is agoraphobic and unable to leave her trailer. But in all honesty, it's just a love story at heart, with two couples finding each other all over again. Never mind that, in one case, one was on the run from the other.
Kim Furlow guides the proceedings as Betty flanked on either side by Kay Love's Lin, which is short for Linoleum (because that's where she was born), and on the other side by Jessica Tilghman as the ever hysterically pregnant Pickles. In a lovingly created park, courtesy of David Blake, they explain what's going down, and some times, coolly back up the other character's hijinks. Jamie Lynn Marble is Pippi, a newly arrived stripper at the local Litter Box, who falls for the agoraphobic's chronically stupid husband, Norbert (Zachary Stefanik, who surprises everyone with his dancing prowess). Norbert's wife (Jeannie) is give a particularly nice, and sympathetic, performance by Lindsey Jones, And, after Jeannie catches Norbert on the sly, up pops her marker-sniffing ex, Duke (a snarling Keith Parker,Jr.), who shows up to cause mayhem.
This nuttiness is directed by Justin Been, and it closes Stray Dog's Ninth season on an up note. Chris Peterson does nice work directing the band and cast through the “trailerpark favorites” score of David Nehls and Betsy Kelso. Tyler Duenow's lighting neatly enhances the exuberant work of Blake, which captures a certain degree of kitsch in its construction. Alexandra Scibetta Quigley's costumes complete the retro look, giving the Act One closer a Disco sheen.
The Great American Trailer Park Musical is a wacky delight. Mel Brooks, or the Zucker brothers would approve of the constant stream of gags, I'm sure. Audiences seem to be approving as well, with the run having been extended through August 25, 2012 to accomodate demand.